Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Archive for November 4th, 2011

Occupy Writers: Articulate Speakers for the Bottom 99%

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Tonight, via MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” I found out about the Website Occupy Writers because Maddow had author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) on to discuss his recent post at that site.  A few of Lemony Snicket’s salient points from his post at Occupy Writers follow:

6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.


11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

(Good words.  I can’t top them.)

Note that is where many of my favorite authors have signed up in support of the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Everything Else movement that’s going on right now.  A few of my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors who’ve signed their names in support at that site include Rosemary Edghill, Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Pierce, Melinda Snodgrass, Laura Resnick, Laura Anne Gilman, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Neil Gaiman — I’m sure there were more, but those were the ones I noted right away.  There are many, many writers on that list, some who are extremely well-known (like Salman Rushdie), some who are well-known to SF/F readers like myself (see above) and some who aren’t known — including some editors of various magazines, including Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar.  (I’d gladly sign my name to the list, too, but I don’t have a novel published yet.  Otherwise, I’d have done this as soon as I knew the site was available.)

What I think is great about is that it shows that people who are creative understand what’s going on in this world.  Our economy is not just bad; it’s truly terrible, and it’s something that all Americans — not just the “bottom 99%” — should care about.  These writers get that, which is great.

Now, it’s time for the top 1%, like those who sit in the United States Congress, to realize that without the “bottom 99%,” nothing gets done in this country.  Period.

Speaking of that, CNN’s Jack Cafferty has an excellent blog about why the Congress doesn’t seem to care at all about the “bottom 99%”.  This is because they, themselves, benefitted from the horrible policies they instituted — greatly.

During the height of the recession, Congress actually became 25% richer.  Meaning they were “feathering their own nests” while the rest of us got the shaft — as disgusting as this is, there’s more to the story.

From Cafferty’s blog post:

“Roll Call” reports that members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010.

That was up about 25 percent from 2008, during the height of the recession.

And these wealth totals likely underestimate how rich Congress really is. That’s because they don’t include homes and other non-income generating property, which could come out to hundreds of millions in additional dollars.

This wealth is split fairly evenly between both Democrats and Republicans.

Overall, about 200 members of Congress are millionaires. Once again, this doesn’t include the value of their homes.

So did you catch all that?  As bad as this is that the Congress is so much wealthier, overall, than the rest of the country — including the vast majority of their own constituents — this doesn’t even include the value of their homes or other property, which anyone else would have to claim as a matter of course as part of his or her overall wealth.

Cafferty continues a bit lower with:

Another expert suggests members of Congress do better with their investments than the average American because they are privy to inside information.

Really? Seriously? They would take advantage of that… something that is clearly illegal for the rest of us?

The bottom line is this body of lawmakers has next to nothing in common with the average American. Yet we keep sending most of the same rat pack back year after year.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say when members of Congress got 25% richer during the height of the recession?

I don’t know about anyone else, but what it says to me is that Congress is behaving in an unethical, immoral, blatantly dishonest manner.  And it once again reminds me why we must be vigilant, watch what our representatives do (not just what they say), and perhaps most importantly of all, keep an eye on who — and what — is financing their campaigns.

This is why I, for one, intend to vote out as many wealthy incumbents who are in Congress as I possibly can.  In this case, there’s one name who tops my list — my long-time Representative, Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), who clearly has forgotten that most of his constituents make far less money than he does.  Ryan has done himself no favors, either, as he’s shown little to no understanding of the whole “Occupy” movement, nor any compassion as to how difficult it is nowadays to find work in America — even for our honored military veterans, some of whom have gone out in support at various “Occupy” protests and have been hurt badly by police, most especially in Oakland, California.

And I’m sorry; I cannot support anyone who doesn’t want to help promote job growth in this country.  Rep. Ryan’s been in office for twelve whole years; he’s had twelve years to try to improve the economy, and he’s done very little about it.  Ryan has obviously lost touch with the people of his district, and more importantly, the people of this country.  If he can’t even figure out that the economy is in the tank, so the House of Representatives should have better things to do with their time than re-affirm “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States (as they did earlier this week) rather than take up any measure that could possibly help create employment in this country (see previous post for details), I know that just about anyone would do a better job as my US Rep. than Paul Ryan.

Worse yet, he’s said several times that he doesn’t understand the “Occupy” movement; he doesn’t believe it’s helpful.   Yet military veterans, who Ryan claims to appreciate, are coming home to no jobs and a 12% unemployment rate, which is why some are going to “Occupy” protests across the US of A in order to ask, “Where are the jobs, and why doesn’t anybody in Washington, DC, or in the halls of power seem to care?”

I’m sorry; if you can’t be bothered to understand why people are upset because there’s a high unemployment rate overall, including a very high unemployment rate for returning military vets who’ve fought the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, it’s time for you to go.

So please, Mr. Ryan — don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out.


I, indeed, am an “Occupy Writer” even if I never am able to sign that petition — and I hope that I’ve done my level best to speak for the bottom 99% this evening, even if I did originally say “top 99%” because I was thinking about our morals, manners, and ethics — where we are, indeed, the top 99%, and those who don’t get it have to be the bottom 1% in these areas.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm